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George Dorris
Ballet Review, August 2016

Segerstam, who has been recording all of Sibelius’ theater music with his fine Turku Philharmonic, again leaves us in his debt with this strong performance. © 2016 Ballet Review

Ralph Graves
WTJU, June 2016

As always, Leif Segerstam delivers a straightforward interpretation of the music. It gives me the impression that Segerstam is trying to keep out of the way and let the music speak for itself. And that music is well-served by the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, which plays—as they have throughout the series—with commitment and expressiveness. © 2016 WTJU Read complete review

Colin Anderson, June 2016

Although a relatively small orchestra is employed, including a piano, Sibelius’s genius is such that much colour and evocation is evident and which sustains a long and rewarding listen.

…Leif Segerstam (a dedicated Sibelian) and the Turku Philharmonic are poised and lively advocates for this fascinating off-shoot of Sibelius’s capabilities, at once inimitable and economical yet imaginatively indicative of the story and the stage action. The recording is beautifully clear and airy. © 2016 Read complete review

Richard A. Kaplan
Fanfare, May 2016

The title character in Scaramouche is, of all things, a viola player—and a hunchbacked dwarf for good measure—so there are important parts in the score for solo viola and cello, expertly played by Bendik Goldstein and Roi Ruottinen, respectively. Indeed, Segerstam gets admirable playing from the entire Turku Philharmonic, and Naxos’s recording is fine. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, March 2016

The music goes from idyllic to more dramatic as it follows the story of the spellbinding musical charms of the dwarf and his ultimately evil intent.

Leif Segerstam and the Turku Philharmonic turn in the sort of spacious, idiomatically vibrant performance we have come to expect from this series. © 2016 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Edward Clark
Musical Opinion, March 2016

The playing is responsive to these slowish tempi chosen by Leif Segerstam and the whole enterprise is further affirmation of Naxos’s desire to bring forth ambitious full scores of Sibelius’s often magical music for the theatre in this well-crafted series from Turku. © 2016 Musical Opinion

Paul Corfield Godfrey
MusicWeb International, February 2016

…Leif Segerstam does Sibelius the credit of not rushing the music in an attempt to impose symphonic unity. The composer gives no metronome markings in the score, but Segerstam holds the action together in a manner that would clearly reflect a stage production. In so doing he actually lends the music greater weight and stature…

…the orchestral playing and recording are excellent. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, January 2016

Leif Segerstam has all the inspiration and power to convert Sibelius’s Scaramouche in an appealing score, with a lot of atmosphere. This is a real Sound-Hitchcock. © 2016 Pizzicato

Steven A. Kennedy
Cinemusical, January 2016

The performance here works very well to achieve the right sense of drama and does a fine job of making a case for this work… It does not feel like a mere runthrough but a seriously committed performance. © 2016 Cinemusical Read complete review, December 2015

…Sibelius’ care in orchestration and mood-setting come through very well, and Segerstam leads the work with care in both pacing and balance, bringing out Sibelius’ characteristic attentiveness to orchestration particularly well. © 2015 Read complete review

David Hurwitz, December 2015

…Sibelius was not really comfortable writing decadent sleeze (it was a Viennese specialty), though the scoring is imaginative and the music has plenty of otherworldly atmosphere.

…Segerstam captures the music’s weirdness with greater relish and Sibelius completists will surely need this performance to fill out their collections. © 2015 Read complete review

Charles T. Downey
Ionarts, December 2015

The delightful score is for chamber orchestra, mostly woodwinds and strings, joined by four horns and piano, but Sibelius creates a wonderful tapestry of sound with these limited forces. © 2015 Ionarts Read complete review

Andrew Achenbach
Gramophone, December 2015

Leif Segerstam masterminds a characteristically unhurried, atmospheric display and proves especially adept at teasing out every drop of sinister unease and harmonic daring from the music of the duetting solo viola and solo cello associated with the hunchback Scaramouche. What’s more, his polished band is with him every step of the way. Excellent sound and truthful balance, too. What an absorbing journey of discovery this series has proved to be; congratulations to everyone involved! © 2015 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Robert Benson, December 2015

The performance conducted by Leif Segerstam is sensitive and wonderful, as is the audio. Recommended! © 2015 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2015

Together with his early symphony, Kullervo, the tragic pantomime, Scaramouche, was the most extended of Sibelius’s scores, its twenty-one scenes cast in two acts. When he received the scenario for the 1912 commission, he was not best pleased to discover it was a pantomime unusually with a spoken dialogue. It was not a good omen for a work not yet begun, but he continued and had it completed on time in December 1913. Then circumstances dictated that it had to wait until 1922 before it was first performed, not in Finland, but in Copenhagen where the performance was said to be far from successful. Sibelius, on the other hand, wrote in his diary, “Scaramouche great success in Copenhagen”, though it did immediately fell into obscurity. The story is of the hunchback, Scaramouche, who appears at a ball, his playing of the viola appearing to bewitch the wife of the host. She excuses herself when the guests go for supper and sets off to find Scaramouche as he continues playing. Unable to find where she has gone, the husband is distraught, but then overjoyed when she returns. It is a short lived joy when Scaramouche reappears, and unable to flee from his grasp, she kills him. He has not yet finished with her, his ghost and music continuing in a frenzied dance that takes her to her death. Not a nice story, and Sibelius, in his score for small orchestra, reduces the grotesquerie to the minimum, the most extended of the twenty-one scenes picturing the final dance of death. It is not a score to rank alongside his symphonies, but it is effectively orchestrated, and with it Leif Segerstam, and his fine Turku orchestra, continue their superbly played and invaluable recording of Sibelius’s theatre works. © 2015 David’s Review Corner

Michael Scott Rohan
BBC Music Magazine, November 2015


Leif Segerstam brings out the dreamy, decadent atmosphere very convincingly, although the one rival version, Neeme Järvi’s premiere recording with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (on BIS), is slightly warmer and richer-sounding. Both are excellent, but this is half the price and easy to recommend. © 2015 BBC Music Magazine

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